For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2014

Facility to Enhance NYISO’s Grid Monitoring Capabilities, Help State Address Energy Priorities

Rensselaer, N.Y.— Federal, state and local government and energy industry leaders gathered today to celebrate the completion of construction of the New York Independent System Operator‘s (NYISO) new, $38 million primary power control center, which features the latest digital monitoring technologies to strengthen grid reliability and security
throughout the state and region.

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Located adjacent to the NYISO’s headquarters in Rensselaer County, the 64,000-square-foot control facility serves as the primary operations and control center for the non-profit NYISO, which oversees New York’s bulk electricity grid and wholesale electricity markets.

“Our new control center will help us meet the 21st century’s grid reliability requirements through the use of the latest control technologies and state-of-the-art visual displays that are designed to improve the NYISO’s ability to receive, process and monitor changing conditions throughout the region,” said Stephen G. Whitley, the NYISO’s president and CEO. “Reliable operation of the grid requires constant vigilance – balancing the supply of power with consumer demand for electricity on a moment-to-moment basis – every hour of the day, every day of the year.”  Government and business leaders praised the opening of the new control center for the supporting role it plays in creating a stronger economy.

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“Today, we’re not just opening a state-of-the-art facility, but we’re flipping the switch on a major cost-saver for residents throughout New York state,” said New York’s senior U.S. senator, Charles Schumer. “This new digital control center will save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year, and help stave off the kind of blackouts that can cripple wide swathes of the state and drive the economy to a total stand-still. NYISO has recognized the importance of creating a 21st century grid to support our 21st century economy here in New York, and the opening of this facility is a major component of that effort.”

“When companies are deciding where to invest in starting or growing a business, one of the most important factors they look for is the availability of reliable and affordable power,” said U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, whose district includes the NYISO’s headquarters. “The NYISO’s new control center and the recent completion of critical smart grid infrastructure upgrades will help ensure new and existing businesses have the power they need to drive economic growth in the region and across the state.”

“This control center will help NYISO provide reliable, clean and affordable energy to all New Yorkers,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Acting Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur said. “The control center’s state-of-the-art technology will enhance NYISO’s ability to react to problems on the grid as they occur and to run its competitive markets more efficiently for the benefit of all customers.”

“Governor Cuomo has made strengthening the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid a primary goal,” said PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman. “The NYISO’s new, state-of-the-art power control center will help further the state’s efforts to ensure the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid, particularly as New York confronts more frequent and intense weather events, such as the extended cold spell from this past winter.”

The new control center’s 2,300-square-foot video wall is the largest such utility installation in North America.  Displaying a massive representation of the state’s electric grid, the video wall provides more than 3,000 live status points presenting key electric system operations data and information. Regional electric system information, weather and lightning-strike data, power demand forecasts and other information can be customized for display to assist operators in forecasting and mitigating potential system disturbances.

The new primary control center supports a number of key energy goals, including:

  • Enabling improved integration of renewable energy supplies by deploying renewable resource management tools such as wind forecasts, meteorological conditions and generation output data to better assess and employ variable wind and solar renewable power resources.
  • Maintaining reliability while managing the growing complexity of modern electric grid operations through smart grid technology that integrates and processes significantly higher volumes of data.
  • Implementing the NYISO’s broader regional markets initiative that will provide New York with approximately $190 million in annual savings through mechanisms that eliminate market barriers and optimize resources among regions.

 

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The new facility replaces the NYISO’s existing 44-year-old power control center in the town of Guilderland in western Albany County. Systems at the Guilderland facility also have been upgraded, allowing it to serve as fully functional backup control center.

This state-of-the-art facility also harnesses grid control technologies installed in the NYISO’s smart grid project, which was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Completed last June, the project was conducted in partnership with transmission-owning utilities and power authorities, and involved extensive collaboration among contractors, stakeholders, and government agencies. It successfully deployed phasor measurement units (PMUs) that can improve grid operators’ ability to more quickly detect irregularities, predict problems and take corrective action to maintain reliability.

The Smart Grid New York PMU network relays system conditions at a rate of 60 times per second – 360 faster than before, giving grid operators greater ability to detect irregularities and take corrective action. The project also included installation of capacitor banks to improve transmission system efficiency by reducing line losses.  Completion of the control center projects and DOE-funded smart grid initiative will allow the NYISO to better fulfill its core mission of maintaining reliability of the state’s bulk power system and operating economically efficient wholesale markets.

Additional Quotes Regarding NYISO’s New Control Center:

State Senator George Maziarz, chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee: “The opening of the NYISO control center sets the stage for a new era of efficiency in our transmission network. Most people don’t think about the infrastructure necessary to keep the lights on and the refrigerator running, but this facility will be of central importance to our state’s energy needs. The efforts of the NYISO have contributed to New York achieving its lowest wholesale prices ever in 2013. With a new technologically advanced control center in place I think we can expect similarly good results moving forward.”

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Energy: “The grand opening of the new, state-of-the-art control center will enable the NYISO to use the most recent technology available to manage the electric grid and the wholesale power markets. It is an exciting development that will help spur development of a smarter, more reliable electric grid for New York.”

State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione, 43rd Senate District: “Congratulations to New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) on the ribbon cutting for their new, state-of-the-art control center located in the 43rd Senate District. It’s been shared with me that the NYISO control center is the largest in North America, servicing wires from Western New York to New York City. I applaud NYISO for their continued technological innovation and commitment to operating a modernized, reliable electricity system for a safer, smarter, more efficient electric grid.”

Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino: “The completion of this facility is great news for the state and region as the work done here will help ensure the electricity needs of our current businesses as well as prospective businesses looking to take advantage of all that we have to offer. As we know firsthand, the key to our local
economic recovery is job creation and this project has created jobs directly and also laid the foundation for greater growth that I am certain will continue to have a positive impact for years to come.”

Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State: “It is critically important that we maintain and improve the reliability of the electric power system, as it is vital to the production of goods and services in both the commercial and industrial sectors. The opening of the NYISO control center will increase situational awareness of the electric power system, which is crucial in improving the reliability and resiliency of the grid. Replacing one of the oldest North American ISO and RTO control centers with the new center is a positive step for New York’s business community.”

Gavin Donohue, president and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY): “The NYISO’s new advanced control center will enhance New York’s robust and reliable electric grid that is needed to assist the state’s power producers of today and tomorrow in generating and delivering electricity when and where it is
needed most.”

Mark Eagan, president and CEO of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber: “This new, state-of-the-art facility provides a needed upgrade to electricity infrastructure and solidifies New York’s position at the forefront of smart-grid technologies.”

Linda Hillman, president of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce: “The completion of NYISO’s 64,000-square-foot facility in Rensselaer County demonstrates a commitment to the advancement of smartgrid initiatives and New York’s electric system. Improved efficiency is the key to supporting and sustaining high-tech companies that have invested in our region. This investment assists the powerful economic development and revitalization that continue to strengthen the county’s business community and quality of life. We applaud NYISO for its commitment to the future of New York state.”

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For additional background material, please go to the NYISO website for fact sheets:

 

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid,
administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power
system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.
New York Independent System Operator. 10 Krey Boulevard. Rensselaer, NY 12144

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For more information, please contact:

David Flanagan (518) 356-7325 [office] / (518) 727-1569 [mobile] / dflanagan@nyiso.com
Ken Klapp (518) 356-6253 [office] / (518) 461-3564 [mobile] / kklapp@nyiso.com

To view and download this Press Release, please click here.
To download a copy of the Control Center Fact Sheet, please click here.